Tuesday 29 October 2013

The Golden Years

As a carer for an older person and someone who practised for several years as a physician for older people,  I was interested to review Christopher Bogosh's book The Golden Years published by Good Samaritan Books.

Mr Bogosh writes about ageing from a Christian and US perspective. He covers the demographics of ageing in the US, effects of ageing and touches on the interesting topic of which changes are "normal" effects of ageing and which are part of disease. There is a chapter on healthy living which contains some general information on topics such as nutrition and sleep. The section on sleep usefully combines information about sleep with a Christian view on what to think about when sleep evades. However, I was a little unsure about the evidence base of some of the recommendations, for example, on the amount of water to be drunk per day and the advice on food supplements was rather vague.

The older adult eating a well-balanced diet will receive most of the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to live a healthy life, but some additional supplements may be helpful.

So, does this mean that an older adult does or does not need supplements?

The chapters on Preventative Healthcare and Healthcare Management are written in the US context and are, to a large extent, irrelevant in the United Kingdom. It is particularly important to note that the law on making decisions for someone who cannot make decisions for themselves is different in the UK. However, the chapter on Healthcare Management does include a section on carers. I feel that this is sufficiently important to have its own separate chapter but maybe that is because I am a carer.

The final two chapters cover medical conditions . The first of these chapters starts with a Biblical explanation of suffering but then attempts to be a mini-medical textbook for the lay person. Like any mini-textbook, there are features that are over simplistic or anachronistic, for example use of the term CVA for stroke. The statement that
People with dysphagia require a feeding tube to prevent aspiration and to maintain adequate nutrition.
This isn't always correct and the first step may be to modify the diet and the rate at which food is offered rather than consider a feeding tube or referral to hospice care as suggested by the book.

I was also interested by the dismissal of  concerns:
Some Christians translate Paul’s warning to care for family members (1 Tim. 5:8) as a mandate to provide twenty-four-hour hands-on nursing care for spouses or parents, even when they do not know how to provide it.
I don't believe that this necessarily means having to provide 24 hour care but for those who do, this needs more explanation to be helpful.

Overall, this is an interesting book but probably more relevant in the US than in the UK. It is useful to look at ageing from a Biblical perspective and of course, the Biblical aspects are relevant to everyone and will remain relevant when Obama care is a memory.

The Golden Years is available for Amazon.co.uk at £11.11 and from Good Samaritan books at $10.99.

I reviewed the Golden Years  from Good Samaritan Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions are all my own.

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